Director-General condemns killing of two Syrian journalists: reporter Maya Nasser and citizen journalist Abdelkarim Al-Oqda

The Director-General of UNESCO today voiced grave concern about the targeting of journalists in Syria and called for an investigation into the killing of TV reporter Maya Nasser and citizen journalist Abdelkarim Al-Oqda.

“Once again, I call on all those involved in the conflict in Syria to respect the civilian status of journalists, including citizen journalists, to exercise and their right to freedom of expression. Journalists must also be able to exercise their professional duties. I therefore call for an investigation into the killing of TV reporter Maya Nasser and citizen journalist Abdelkarim Al-Oqda.”

Maya Nasser, a correspondent for Iran’s English-language Press TV, was shot by a sniper on 26 September while reporting on a twin bomb attack on the military command headquarters in central Damascus. He died shortly afterwards in hospital.

Abdelkarim Al-Oqda, a citizen journalist for Sham News Network (SNN), was reportedly killed during an assault by government forces on Arbaeen, a neighbourhood in Hama, on 19 September. According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), he died when security forces attacked his home and set it on fire.

Al least 30 journalists and citizen journalists have been killed in Syria since the start of the uprising in the country in May 2011. They are remembered on the dedicated page: UNESCO Condemns the killing of journalists.                         


Media contact: Sylvie Coudray,  +33 (0)1 45 68 24 

UNESCO is the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”